ASU Faculty Showcases Innovative Teaching

Faculty, instructors, graduate students, and staff from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) recently met for the 3rd CLAS Demofest to showcase innovative teaching practices across diverse content areas. For this semester’s event, eight presenters from seven different departments and schools in CLAS shared and discussed their teaching, spanning a variety of course formats (face-to-face, blended, online) and different student enrollment (large lecture courses, small undergraduate and graduate seminars, etc.). Continue reading

Are my students really getting it? CATs will show you the way.

In a previous post (see Gauging Student Understanding: CATs are puuuuur-fect), we introduced instructors to the idea of using Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) by Angelo and Cross (1983) to check whether students understand a certain concept. To recap, CATs are generally short, non-graded, and student-centered activities that provide instructors with feedback about lesson effectiveness and student comprehension. Best of all, they require little preparation, class time, or grading. In the following section, we present three additional CATs and suggest ways to adapt them to online courses. Continue reading

Games for Change 2014 Highlights: Why Not use Games in Education?

Note:  This is a highly interactive article! Please click on all of the hyperlinks. They either take you to the game mentioned OR to an article about the game’s use in education.

The Games for Change (G4C) Festival in New York City has come a long way over the past few years. When I started attending the conference in 2010, the emphasis on using games to educate was at the periphery, not because attendees didn’t believe in the potential of games in the learning space, but because the money simply wasn’t there to create commercial quality learning games. There also wasn’t universal support for the idea that learning could be fun. (“They are having too much fun to be learning.”)

Continue reading

Sample Syllabus Quiz Questions

A syllabus quiz acts as a contract to verify understanding of important elements of the syllabus. The purpose of a syllabus quiz is not only to familiarize students with the syllabus content, but also gives students a chance to reflect on questions that were asked in previous terms. This helps the instructor avoid answering the same questions repeatedly, and a syllabus quiz can ensure that students are responsible for their own learning.

Continue reading

Setting the Stage for Meaningful Peer-to-Peer Feedback

Although many instructors integrate group-based or team-based learning activities into their teaching (see TeachOnline post on The Value of Group Work), getting students to actually provide meaningful peer-to-peer feedback can be challenging. Too often, cultural norms or fears of potential social backlash make students veer away from critiquing each other in a group setting or an online discussion forum. As a result, peers often do not know how to provide meaningful feedback and tend to fall back on statements, such as “I agree with what s/he said!” or the infamous Facebook-popularized, “I like it!”

Continue reading

Videos in the Classroom: Is That Really Active Learning?

This is the second article in a series on Active Learning. Click here to read an earlier TeachOnline blog post on how active learning promotes student success.

Videos are considered an especially effective way to present information while also addressing multiple learning styles. However, today’s students are often viewed as passive consumers of content. It is reported that a typical high school or college-age student spends, on the average, about five hours a day watching television, movies, and other online content. (Nielsen, 2013) To address this trend and encourage increased student engagement, instructors have begun to incorporate active learning strategies into face-to-face classroom and online instruction.

Continue reading

Assessments with Rubrics

Assessing students’ work is a common activity in the life of any instructor, and depending on the number of students and type of assignment, can be a long and tedious process. Even after sharing grades and posting feedback, students are often interested in how the instructor arrived at a certain point value or score. Consequently, instructors often spend additional time answering students’ questions to “justify” their assessments.

Continue reading

Video Conferencing for Synchronous Sessions – Food for Thought

“Synchronous video interaction can make learning more personal by providing a close approximation of the human, one-on-one experience…” (Educause, 2013)

people-in-a-roomOne of the most exciting aspects of video conferencing technology is the ability to conduct your class in real-time, regardless of location. Imagine the possibilities when students from around the country or even the world can learn as if they were in the same classroom. Like all new technologies however, there are some important considerations an instructor should take into account before jumping off the deep end. Some basic preparation will allow the magic to happen without the headaches that can come with it!

Continue reading